9 Tips for Building Trust in the Workplace
If you’d like your organization to succeed, you must foster mutual trust between all team members. But this is easier said than done. Only 1 out of 5 HR and engagement leaders believe their employees deeply trust company leaders, and 50 percent of employees said they don’t think HR is trustworthy.
Trust is essential for in-person teams and remote workers. Without it, any employee is likely to be less motivated and productive. In fact, workers at high-trust companies report 74 percent less stress, exhibit 50 percent higher productivity, and experience 40 percent less burnout.
The two types of trust that you need to know
1. Practical trust
Keep in mind: employers building trust with their staff is just as important as the other way around. Whether you’re a manager or an entry-level employee, it’s crucial that you build trust with those around you.
2. Emotional trust
People are less likely to be aware of this type of trust. You create emotional trust by going above and beyond what’s expected of you, and creating meaningful bonds with your team. It requires a level of emotional intelligence.
You knew that you had each other’s backs. You treated each other with respect. And you felt comfortable sharing ideas, thoughts, and feelings that you may not have expressed with other coworkers.
We would argue this is because Netflix hires with inclusivity and integrity in mind. Their employees work in a high-trust environment. They are also given more decision-making and information-sharing freedom.
8 Ways to Build Trust in the Workplace
Even though the importance of trust in the workplace appears to be self-evident for most organizations, many are still unsure how to achieve it. Remember, one in three people don’t trust their employer.
The thing is, business leaders are now facing new challenges: building trust when teams are geographically dispersed. Indeed, remote work has become the new normal, which leads organizations to adjust their strategies.
1. Encourage employees’ share of voice
58% of employees believe they themselves are responsible for ensuring they have a successful career. Yet 63% of employees say that employers have “too much power and control over their professional lives and well-being”.
In order to fix this issue, employers must give employees a voice, create opportunities for shared actions and empower them with information. It is important that employees feel like they can speak up about important issues, their needs and concerns without being held back.
The biggest mistake that employers make is practicing one-way communication with their employees. Meaning they send out newsletters to inform their employees without giving them an opportunity to join the conversation and share their voice.
2. Create a better company culture with open and transparent employee communications
IBM conducted a study of over 1,700 CEOs from 64 countries and 18 industries. One of the major findings is that companies that outperform their peers are 30% more likely to identify openness as a key influence on their organization.
Unlike organizations with many hierarchical levels and closed company culture, today’s successful CEOs are intentionally incorporating openness and transparency into their workplace cultures.
Transparency is showing accountability through communication. Being honest, vulnerable, giving frequent feedback, setting expectations and keeping employees informed and connected are all forms of transparency. Without transparency, people tend to make up their own truth about something, which may lead to extensive misinformation in the workplace, where people feel frustrated and left out.
3. Share important information with your employees
Topics around trust and transparency in the workplace are especially popular now as we are facing a lot of uncertainty about the current pandemic. Many employees feel scared and worried, and a lack of relevant information is the most common culprit for that.
On the other side, there is an extensive information overload that employees are facing. When employees don’t get the right information, when they are not able to find it quickly or when they have to deal with a lot of irrelevant information coming their way, both their trust and productivity are disrupted.
Employers have to find better ways to keep their employees informed about the important company updates as well as updates from other relevant and trusted sources. Many of them still haven’t found ways to inform their employees in a timely manner and make communication more personalized.
4. Foster peer-to-peer communication
A great research by Edelman shows that the most common source of workplace information is other employees (37%), even more than personal communication from one’s manager (35%). Therefore, keeping employees connected and enabling them to communicate efficiently not only does build trust among employees, but it also creates better relationships and empowers knowledge sharing in the workplace.
Yet, many organizations’ employee communications ecosystems are very complex and, therefore, highly unproductive. When employees have to deal with and pay attention to multiple different communication channels, the chances for frustration and important information getting lost are very likely.
Consequently, your employees may feel uninformed, lost and confused. Therefore, employers need to switch to more centralized employee communication solutions that have the ability to connect multiple communication solutions into a single platform that serves as a source of relevant information.
5. Authentic and approachable leadership
The same Edelman research showed that 71% of employees agree it’s critically important for their CEO to respond to and talk about challenging times and sensitive topics. We all have witnessed this during these hard times that COVID-19 has brought to us.